Organized Panel Session
In the Noh play Taniko, the child Matsuwaka joins a mountain ascetic group in their pilgrimage to the mountain top. His stated purpose is to accrue religious merits on behalf of his sick mother. But he transgresses the strict code of the mountain asceticism by becoming ill along the way, and consequently he must be taken to the valley below to be buried alive. Ultimately the virtue of his filial piety moves the gods to spare his life.
Taniko is unique in several ways. It is the only play (in the entire ca. 250 Noh plays in the current repertoire) that depicts the cruel scene of a young child being buried alive. Among the 277 Noh plays that depict parent-child relationships (including both current and non-current plays of all periods), Taniko is one of a very few plays that portray a son's filial piety for the mother. The majority depict the son's filial piety for his father.
Taniko is also the only one play in the entire current repertoire that presents a son's filial piety for his mother in the category of life sacrifice. The mother-son relationship plays out against the backdrop of a teacher-disciple relationship. The scene of Matsuwaka's resurrection thus addresses different issues from those in other parent-child Noh plays.